Friday, May 18, 2012

National Science Board Announces New Leadership Team

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced new leadership for its National Science Board.  Dan Arvizu will take over as the new chairman, Kelvin Droegemeier will be the new vice-chairman, and Carl Lineberger to joing the NSB's Executive Committee.  The changes were announced during the Board's May meeting.

As noted in their press release, "the NSB is made up of 25 Members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate," however, "the NSB is apolitical." Board members "are drawn from industry and universities, and represent a variety of science and engineering disciplines and geographic areas."  Nominees to the "Board (1) shall be eminent in the fields of the basic, medical, or social sciences, engineering, agriculture, education, research management or public affairs; (2) shall be selected solely on the basis of established records of distinguished service; and (3) shall be so selected as to provide representation of the views of scientific and engineering leaders in all areas of the Nation."

More information can be read on the NSF web site.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EPA Promotes Safer Alternatives to Nonylphenol Ethoxylates

According to the USEPA:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the final report on alternatives to nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) through the Design for the Environment (DfE) Alternatives Assessment Program. NPEs are widely used surfactants with a range of industrial applications and are commonly found in consumer products, such as laundry detergents. When released into the environment, they can be persistent and highly toxic to aquatic organisms. The report identifies eight safer alternatives to NPE that meet EPA’s criteria for safer surfactants.
“I applaud the product manufacturers who have stopped using NPEs and switched to safer alternatives and the chemical manufacturers who have made the safer alternatives available,” said Jim Jones, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). “This report shows the important strides that have been made to identify safer alternatives and the progress being made to phase out NPEs in detergents and reduce its use in other applications. By developing rigorous technical assessments through public participation, EPA can help successfully encourage the transition to safer chemicals.”  
The report provides information on the availability of safer alternatives, DfE’s hazard evaluation method for surfactants, and the progress being made in adopting safer surfactants.  Using rigorous hazard-based criteria, EPA evaluated hundreds of chemicals for their biodegradability and their potential effects to aquatic organisms.

DfE’s Alternatives Assessment Program helps industries choose safer chemicals and offers a basis for informed decision-making by providing a detailed comparison of the potential human health and environmental effects of chemical alternatives. To date, the DfE program has labeled more than 2,700 safer products, including detergents that contain only safer surfactants and other chemicals. All companies participating in the DfE Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative have eliminated NPE from their product lines to meet DfE criteria.

More information on the DfE Alternatives Assessment Program and the NPEs Report: